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The Meaning of the English Adverbial Suffix-ly

Lessard Nathalie. (1997). The Meaning of the English Adverbial Suffix-ly. Mémoire de maîtrise, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

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Résumé

In Modern English, adverbs are generally derived from an adjectival root to which the suffix -ly is added. However, -ly is also found in other kinds of words such as adjectives and even a few substantives. Therefore, the problem of the English suffix ?ly lies in the fact that it is generally considered an adverbial suffix even though it is used to form other types of words. The suffix apparently has many uses which would endow it with many functions and meanings.

To complicate matters further, some -ty adjectives and adverbs have bare counterparts, and they form adjectival and adverbial pairs. The adverbial pairs are made up of two adverbs derived from the same adjectival root, and one adverb is characterized by the -ly suffix, whereas the other adverb is bare, meaning that it is identical in form to the root. Here is an example: He thought deeply about religious matters, and He plunged deep into the ocean. An example of an adjectival pair would be a kind man and a kindly heart.

Interestingly, in a good number of adverbial pairs, the -ly adverb and the bare adverb are not interchangeable, as is the case for deep and deeply, mentioned above. This suggests that there is a semantic difference between the two types of adverbs, and that this difference would probably be explained by the presence of the suffix.

Since the -ly suffixes, be they adverbial, adjectival, or substantival, are morphologically identical and since they have a common etymological root, the question of whether a definition exists that could be generalized to all uses of the suffix can be raised. If such a semantic link existed, this would mean that -ly does far more than, as many grammars claim, simply generate adverbs.

The goal of this thesis is to show that -ly is a consistently meaningful suffix that tells us something about the nature of the genesis of the lexical content of whatever part of speech the word may belong to. In other words, it will be proposed that there exists a unique semantic value of the suffix in tongue which would explain all of its uses in discourse.

Type de document:Thèse ou mémoire de l'UQAC (Mémoire de maîtrise)
Date:1997
Lieu de publication:Chicoutimi
Programme d'étude:Maîtrise en linguistique
Nombre de pages:123
ISBN:1412307228
Identifiant unique:10.1522/1531542
Sujets:Sciences sociales et humaines > Sciences humaines > Linguistique
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des arts et des lettres > Unité d'enseignement en linguistique et en langues modernes
Directeur(s), Co-directeur(s) et responsable(s):Morris, Lori
Mots-clés:-ly (Le suffixe anglais), Anglais (Langue)--Adverbe, Anglais (Langue)--Adjectif, Anglais (Langue)--Nominaux, English language--Adverb, English language--Adjective, English language--Nominals, THESE, ADVERBE, ANGLAIS, LY, SENS, SUFFIXE
Déposé le:01 janv. 1997 12:34
Dernière modification:03 juin 2011 14:02
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